I wrote this play out of fear. Several years ago now, my husband told me there was a special on CNN about a single gay parent whose two daughters were taken from him by social services for multiple days, when he shared pictures considered questionable amongst his family. I couldn’t watch it because that was too terrifying for me. Growing up, I knew of many cases where people were falsely accused of crimes because of hidden bigotry and prejudice from their accusers. Oftentimes these accusations came from family members. I grew up knowing about the “San Antonio 4” in Texas; four lesbian women falsely accused and convicted of crimes against children. They were not exonerated until 2016 after spending fifteen years in the Texas prison system. Being a gay boy in Texas, for me, meant not trusting many of the people in my own family with my authentic self.
It was only a few years ago, when Tom Slot of Original Binding Productions asked me to write a short play on the theme of “Naked” that I considered writing a piece about falsely accused gay parents. It was to be part of an evening of one-acts. I decided to write about my worst fears if my husband and I had a child. This play was born of a nightmare, imagining if a loved one I care about deeply (and who cares about me) were to misconstrue a moment of innocence and family bonding. I decided to put my actual relationship on stage and ask the most frightening question: “What if?”
What came of that was a 10-minute version of this play. I continued working on it in short-form. The piece was also produced as a fifteen-minute play in Planet Connection’s Playwrights for a Cause benefit in 2017. But the story was larger than the confines of a short play. People wanted to see the events unfold, meet Soledad and watch Claire and Damon’s relationship be torn apart. Claire has a thought and by exploring that thought, she tears a family apart. As a full length, The Baby Monitor was a finalist for the National New Play Network and has had developmental readings at the Duo Theater in Manhattan and the Blank Theater in Hollywood.
I am grateful to the many directors, producers, actors and friends whose feedback inspired, challenged, and gave courage to this play. It was a hard play to write. It hurt to write it, especially in this political atmosphere when the LGBTQI community is being a target of violent rhetoric, ideas, and policies. It is difficult these biases exist in our own families as well. I know how painful it is to know that someone can simultaneously love you and yet not accept you. I am humbled to share it with an audience and thrilled my husband is directing it.
The Baby Monitor
November 29 – December 16
The Baby Monitor opens Thursday, November 29!
Join us for a powerful new play about acceptance and modern family values written by David Stallings, 14th Street Y’s Associate Artistic Director.TICKETS
Use the code BABYFACE for $20 discount tickets!